THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Champions Series Tennis returned to action Thursday at the Sherwood Country Club and former world No. 2 Tommy Haas continued his winning ways on the North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30.
Haas, 42, won his eighth career Champions Series Tennis title by defeating former world No. 6 Wayne Ferreira 6-2 in the one-set final of the afternoon edition of the SoCal Honda Dealer’s Helpful Cup. The win increased the German’s record to 18-4 since he joined Champions Series Tennis at the start of the 2018 season. However, in the morning edition of this special double-header day at the Sherwood Country Club, Haas had his 11-match tour win streak snapped by former U.S. Davis Cupper Robby Ginepri, who defeated Haas 6-4 in the final of the opening event.
“I’m happy to have played a little better the second time around,” said Haas after his afternoon win over Ferreira. “I’m happy to get another win.”
Haas finished the 2019 Champions Series Tennis season with a perfect 10-0 record, becoming the first player in the 15-year history of the circuit to finish a season without a loss. While Haas did not play in the opening Champions Series Tennis event in Newport Beach, California on February 1 before the start of the global pandemic, he did play in a special exhibition event in July in Berlin, where he beat current world No. 34 Jan-Lennard Struff and had two set points on world No. 3 Dominic Thiem before losing 7-6, 6-3.
“I had a couple weeks to get ready for the Berlin Invitational,” said Haas of his current form and fitness. “That was really, really good tennis. I was really pleased with how I played there. Fitness is also part of my life. I got to try and move around every day, every other day, or otherwise the body goes in the opposite direction. I’m sure a lot of people know what I’m talking about. Coming out here, playing at a high level here on the hard courts. You have to take care of your body, no matter what are you doing, even if I wasn’t playing that much tennis anymore, I would have to find something else to keep moving.”
In the morning event, Haas lost in the final to Ginepri, who claimed his second career Champions Series Tennis title and his second in a row after winning in Newport Beach on February 1.
“It’s great to come back to California,” said Ginepri during the morning event “ I’ve also got a lot memories from back in the day playing a lot of tournaments here. It feels great to be playing on the Champions Series.”
Almost two hours after the morning final, Ginepri and Haas were drawn to play in the semifinals of the afternoon event, where Haas avenged the loss by a 6-4.
“Tommy and I have had a lot of battles through our careers,” said Ginepri, who split two five-set matches with Haas in the third round at the 2005 and 2006 U.S. Opens in New York “You get out here and you remember some of the points on how you we played at back-to-back U.S. Opens and some other events. It’s always been a battle.”
In the morning event, Ginepri beat Ferreira 6-2 to advance to the final while Haas beat U.S. Davis Cup captain Mardy Fish 7-5. In the afternoon semifinals, Ferreira beat former U.S. Davis Cup star James Blake 7-5 before Haas registered his revenge win over Ginepri.
Ferreira, the 48-year-old former two-time Australian Open semifinalist, was playing in his first Champions Series Tennis event since 2009 and played 59 career matches on the circuit from 2006 to 2009, winning three tournament titles.
Champions Series Tennis resumes Friday also at the Sherwood Country Club with the staging of Raymond James Champions Cup featuring Blake, Haas, Ginepri and Fish.
These Champions Series Tennis comeback events are closed to the public but follow strict Covid-19 safety protocol and will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net, Comcast Sports Net and Tennis Channel. Geckos from Champions Series sponsor GEICO are placed in courtside seats in addition to their traditional placement as “virtual linespeople.”
Prior to the global pandemic, Ginepri won the only completed Champions Series Tennis event staged in 2020 winning his first career Champions Series title defeating Andy Roddick and Blake in succession to win the Oracle Champions Cup Presented by RBC Wealth Management in front of a standing room only crowd at the Newport Beach Tennis Club.
Last year, Haas, the former world No. 2, finished with a perfect 10-0 record to win the year-long points championship. He won titles in Newport Beach, CA. Maui, HI, New Haven, CT, Los Angeles, CA and Houston, TX to become the first player in the 15-year history of the Champions Series to be an undefeated year-end points champion.
In 2018, Blake won his first Champions Series year-long points championship by winning titles in Winston-Salem, New Haven and Houston, while also finishing as runner-up in Los Angeles and Orlando.
In 2017, the year-long points championship was decided in the final match of the season when Andy Roddick defeated James Blake in the Los Angeles final at the Sherwood Country Club. Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and world No. 1, won four Champions Series titles in all in 2017, winning in Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Lincoln, Neb., and Los Angeles. Blake, the former world No. 4 and former U.S. Davis Cup star, won series titles in Charleston, S.C., Winston-Salem, N.C. and in Lynchburg, Va.
In 2016, Mark Philippoussis won the Series points title with 1,600 points and tournament titles in Memphis, Tulsa, Newport, Winston-Salem and New Haven. Roddick finished in second place, also earning 1600 points but losing the head-to-head tiebreaker with Philippoussis 5-2, while winning titles in Charleston, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Orlando.
Champions Series tennis began in 2005 and has featured 16 former world No. 1 players including many of the greatest legends in the sport including such as Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg and Jim Courier.
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